(Part 1) In their words: Deployed Airmen enduring the holidays Published Nov. 30, 2016 By Senior Airman Tyler Woodward 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs SOUTHWEST ASIA -- The following is a transcription of an interview with Capt. Alex, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, which was recorded Nov. 23, 2016. As the holiday season opens, we are starting a series of Questions and Answers based on how deployed members stay resilient while away from home. How many deployments have you been on? Is this your first? Alex: This is my first deployment. I’m happy to be here! What do you hope to get out of this deployment? Alex: Well, beyond the opportunity to serve down range, I’m just looking forward to being here for people if they need it. We need to take care of our service members first and foremost. So, I’m here to help and be there for any person that needs it. What do you do in your free time to help time pass while deployed? Alex: For me, I recognize what needs I have and I try to meet those in a reasonable way. It definitely takes being flexible. I try to realize I’m not going to be able to do everything. In a way, I think it’s okay to be a little self-indulgent. When you have free time it’s okay to ask yourself ‘What am I needing? Do I have to be social right now or should I just chill in my room?’ and that’s okay. Everybody is different. What’s been the hardest thing while being away from your family and friends during the holidays? Alex: Everyone has those traditions with family and food. For me, it’s snowboarding and even stuff like the changing of seasons .This holiday season is something that is lost forever. One of the hardest things for me is not being there for my family. In the military, we’re all about service before self. We serve our country and our family. We want to be there to protect them and we’re not. So, I think sometimes that can be really hard. But it’s also important to realize we are out here to do good in the world. For you, what does it mean to be resilient? Alex: Flexibility is key. Resiliency is accepting change. It’s important to remember that none of this is permanent. I think a big part of resiliency is being able to understand what you need and finding ways to achieve those things, realistically. If you could tell someone one thing to help them stay resilient through deployments what would it be? Alex: It’s important to set goals and find ways to accept changes. Before you know it, it’s been a month, two months and then six months. Eventually you’ll be heading home. And that’s where resiliency comes in – being able to recognize that nothing is really set in stone and you can adjust.